For this rehabilitation innovator, the focus of wellness is on proof.
Wellness is a broad term not easily defined. Everyone knows of it and tries to reach a level of wellness in their own lives, but it’s a unicorn: people may believe in it, but there is not an agreed upon vision for it.
Aegis Therapies is making it a little easier to understand the concept of wellness and to take the journey towards becoming well.
“We launched a wellness program a few years ago, not to generate more therapy business, but quite the opposite,” said Martha Schram, President of Aegis Therapies.
“It’s to identify and execute on the reality, awareness, and evidence that wellness is multidimensional. Present programing primarily focuses on physical wellness, some on intellectual wellness. But they aren’t able to show evidence of programming around all dimensions of wellness.”
To understand the company’s approach to wellness, you first must understand the company’s dedication to therapy.
Aegis Therapies’ “Restore, Compensate, Adapt” model of care considers not only what can be improved in the patient’s functional abilities but also what can be changed in the patient’s environment, as well as what can be introduced in the patient’s care to help them reach a new level of wellness. Each therapy program is designed with the patient and is specifically tailored to his or her needs and potential.
Its state-of-the-art therapy equipment and proprietary protocols assist patients with treatment in the areas of pain, balance, dementia, continence, and orthopedic rehabilitation.
“That value proposition in the healthcare space is that it has to be evidence-based,” Schram shared. “There has to be compelling evidence to support the intervention that is going to be paid for, and that’s been a challenge in the post-acute space, especially in rehab, and certainly in wellness. The evidence exists but it needs to be practiced and documented.
“In the absence of stepping forward and being accountable for the outcome, both for the individual for whom you are providing the service and the entity or individual that’s paying for the service, it becomes difficult to say that you have a compelling service offering.”
Aegis Therapies is able to add more value to its therapy patients, as well as people outside of the post-acute space, through its on-site wellness programs called EnerG® by Aegis. These programs focus on multiple dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, occupational, and social.
Through classes in tai chi, balance, aquatics, fall prevention, arthritis management, cardiovascular endurance, pain management, memory, and functional cognition improvement, the organization goes above and beyond what is typically expected of an organization offering physical therapy.
“We see our offering as a real solution for the Triple Aim of healthcare from a rehab and healthcare perspective and we’re not the only ones,” she said. “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has put out there that we have got to get more defined, serious, and successful around wellness. That’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Aegis’s journey began in 1999, when the prospective payment system (PPS) of reimbursement was implemented. This was a monumental change in the post-acute space, particularly for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).
Its parent company at the time, Beverly Enterprises, was one of the largest SNFs with hundreds of sites in the 90s. By pulling its rehab division out and organizing it as its own entity within the enterprise, Aegis Therapies was able to meet the complexities and demands of PPS successfully.
“When PPS became a reality, many providers interpreted it as not being able to afford the amount of therapy they had done in the past, so they began to offer less therapy. But the person in need of our services on December 31, 1998 was the same person in need of our services on January 1, 1999,” Schram said. “We developed and embraced our outcomes process, and beefed up support to make sure our patients were still receiving the same quality of care and a service delivery model to meet their needs.”
Aegis’s model for success in 2017 and beyond continues its focus on wellness by employing new strategies built around new partnerships and the power of innovation and technology.
- New Delivery Model
Over the past two years, Aegis Therapies has challenged itself by meticulously reviewing its previous delivery of care model. The result is a care redesign on its clinical platform. As alternative payment models for care grow, the organization will now be able to partner effectively in bundled services and value-based payment models.
“In order to be relevant in a world of increased focus on high value at lowest cost with the best person experience, healthcare organizations must be willing to constantly adapt to the benefit of the patient,” said Schram.
- Forging Partnerships
Ever since the move to PPS in the post-acute space, partnership and collaboration has proven incredibly important for the success of therapy organizations. When most companies originally responded to PPS by shrinking their care staff, Aegis was willing to help when these companies became short-staffed.
Today, Aegis Therapies is looking at partnership in a new way: one where they even see value in collaborating with competitors.
“You can’t do it alone. That’s never been truer, and those who don’t get it right aren’t going to be successful moving forward. We see points of intersection with our competitors and we are moving forward in a collaborative way. ”
- The Power of Data
There’s a lot of data that can be extracted from rehabilitation. By compiling comprehensive profiles of patients and taking the time to understand the data in those profiles, Aegis Therapies and its customers can have a consistent approach and drive consistent outcomes at predictable costs.
“In rehab, predictive analytics are really critical,” she said. “Big data is essential to providing the type of care today’s patients deserve.
- Playing Offense, Not Defense
In the post-acute space, offense is all about managing risk. For Aegis, this means tackling risk head-on with partners like nursing home providers and managed care payers. Being a part of the solution after a fall or after a stroke is what physical therapy was built on, but creating a therapy plan for patients at risk of these health concerns before they happen is part of what wellness is about.
“People have been talking about prevention for a long time,” said Schram. “But it’s really putting in the resources, execution, and effort, and then being able to show the outcomes. And this goes right into such key success factors as preventing avoidable hospital admissions: to be able to show that you really are the partner that matters.”
A lot has changed in healthcare, but Aegis Therapies proves its models and strategies go back to the needs of the person.
“The needs of the patient don’t change. People are still having strokes, people still need therapy, so that’s our touchpoint.
“What is significantly different now is the need for us to be consistently, predictably, and effectively providing services to those people in a setting agnostic way. We deliver services across the continuum. In the absence of being credible and reliable around wellness, it’s hard to make that statement. It’s a big present and future focus for us.”
At Aegis Therapies, we strive to provide the right care for every individual in need of care.
Our therapists have an open dialogue with patients, their families, and the nursing staff to ensure each individual is getting the care they need.
With some of the most qualified leaders in the industry, our focus is patient-centered care at all levels of the organization.
Our quality management and compliance teams monitor regulatory updates in addition to comprehensive internal audits and denial management.
In the 18 years we’ve been in business, we’ve collected over 8 million data points. We don’t have to say we get results. We can prove it.